Pumpkin Caramel Cheesecake Cupcakes

I wouldn't be baking without all of the bakers around me. 

100% of the ideas involved in these cupcakes came NOT from me. The caramel drizzle idea came from @LucyBake, a 14 year old baker on Instagram - y'all, GO CHECK OUT HER IG. She's doing stuff I NEVER would've even thought to attempt at 14 years old - heck, at that age I could barely manage cookies. :/ Sally's Baking Addiction on Pinterest was the source of the cupcake recipe - I tweaked it a bit to fit my flavor profile, but I've never had a bad recipe from her site! 

I think these turned out dang amazing and you should try them ;)  OR - if you'd rather - use them or check out the two sources above for inspiration and make your own pumpkin-caramel-cream-cheese-amazingness! 

Recipes - or inspiration, whatever - below! :) 

Pumpkin Caramel Cheesecake Cupcakes –

Inspiration from @Lucy_Bake on Instagram, Recipe modified from @ SallysBakingAddiction! 

 

 

Pumpkin Cupcakes: (Recipe slightly modified and scaled for 24 cupcakes)

3 ½ c all-purpose flour
2 teaspoon baking powder
2 teaspoon baking soda 
1 teaspoon salt
3 t ground cinnamon (this brand is one of my favorites!) 
1 1/3 c packed dark brown sugar 
4 large eggs 
2 c pumpkin puree 
1 c unsalted butter, melted & cooled slightly (you could substitute vegetable oil if desired) 
2/3 c milk 
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Preheat oven to 350°F (177°C), and prepare 24 muffin tins with cupcake liners.  Set aside.

Line 2 cupcake tins (24 total) with cupcake liners or spray with baking spray. Set aside.

In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, and cinnamon until combined. Set aside. In a medium bowl or stand mixer, whisk the brown sugar and eggs together until combined. Whisk in the pumpkin, butter, milk, and vanilla until combined. Pour the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients and stir until just combined. Do not overmix the batter.

Spoon the batter into the prepared cupcake tins, filling about ½- 2/3 full. Bake for 15-18 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Allow to cool completely before filling or frosting.

Meanwhile – if you’re feeling adventurous – make some caramel sauce! Caramel sauce can be purchased at any grocery store, or this Salted Caramel Sauce from Smuckers is thicker than most that I've found and works best for a cupcake drizzle!
However, you can also make your own - AverieCooks.com is the home of my favorite of all the recipes I've tried so far! No caramel recipe is fool-proof, but this one gave me the least trouble with burning and crystalizing. 

AverieCooks 'The Best and Easiest Homemade Caramel Sauce' 
2 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup water
2 teaspoon light-colored corn syrup (can be omitted but helps reduce crystallization)
1 cup whipping or heavy cream
2 tablespoon vanilla extract, optional (or substitute with bourbon, rum, Grand Marnier, or a favorite liqueur)
1-2 teaspoon salt, optional and to taste

See AverieCooks' page for the instructions

Caramel Cheesecake Filling: 
4 oz (1/2 package) cream cheese, softened
4 oz (1/2 cup) caramel sauce
Stir cream cheese and caramel sauce together until combined – I started with a spatula and ended with a whisk to get the cream cheese lumps out. This would probably be *much* more easily done with a hand or stand mixer - if I’d thought of that a little sooner! 

Cream Cheese Buttercream Frosting: 
8 oz (one package) cream cheese, softened
16 Tablespoons (two sticks) butter, softened
5 ½ -6 cups powdered sugar
4-6 Tablespoons milk
1 T vanilla extract
1/4 t. salt (if using unsalted butter)
Beat together softened cream cheese and butter; slowly add in powdered sugar alternating with milk until frosting reaches desired consistency. Add vanilla and salt if needed and beat until well combined.

Additional Supplies/Equipment + Assembly:
- Large piping bag & tip – I use this set of reusable large bags & tips more than almost any of my others!
- 24 caramel squares 
Once the cupcakes have cooled, you're ready to core them. There are a few ways you can do this....you can buy a cupcake corer, you can try using the non-business-end of a large piping tip,   or....you can do what I do and cut a cone-shaped core out with a plastic knife. Up to you!  I haven't the foggiest idea why cupcake crumbs don't stick to plastic knives like they do regular knives, but the plastic knife's been working too well for me to feel the need to invest in any fancy corers! Pipe your ganache into your cored cupcakes - it doesn't have to look pretty, so I often use a zip-lock bag for this part. 

Pipe frosting in large swirls onto your cupcakes (or however you feel like icing them). Decorate the top of each frosting swirl with a caramel square and add sprinkles if you’d like.  I’m a huge proponent of adding sprinkles to everything at every opportunity, but that’s just me. 

 Done and done! Enjoy! 

Make this recipe? Let me know  how it went - or find me on Instagram and tag @IntensiveCakeUnit in your photo!  

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